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(Sunday, November 13th)
Final Score: New England 37, NY Jets 16
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Tom Brady and the New England Patriots staked their claim -- once again -- as the favorite in the AFC East after dismantling the New York Jets, 37-16.
Brady tossed for 329 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to Rob Gronkowski, who caught eight passes for 113 yards in the rout.
The win also moved Brady and Bill Belichick past Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Don Shula for most wins by a quarterback-head coach duo in the Super Bowl era with 117.
Andre Carter recorded a franchise record 4 1/2 sacks and Rob Ninkovich picked off Mark Sanchez twice, returning one 12 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to highlight New England's defensive effort.
Sanchez threw for 306 yards with a touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress.
The Jets, winners of three straight coming in, were poised to send their rivals to a rare three-game losing streak, but New England convincingly completed the season sweep to take sole possession of first place in the division.
"Obviously, we really wanted this game in the worst way," Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. "It's disappointing, but we can't dwell on it."
New York actually took the lead late in the first half. After holding the Patriots to a pair of first-quarter field goals, Jamaal Westerman forced a safety with 4:44 remaining in the second frame.
As the Patriots faced 3rd-and-13 from their own five-yard line, Westerman broke through the line of scrimmage and forced Brady into a left-handed throw that was intended for no one, resulting in an intentional grounding penalty.
After the free kick, Sanchez led the hosts on a seven-play, 65-yard drive he capped with a two-yard TD run for a 9-6 lead.
But the Jets left 1:20 on the clock, plenty of time for Brady to hook up with Gronkowski on an 18-yard scoring strike just before the break.
New York's Joe McKnight fumbled a punt early in the third quarter, and Stephen Gostkowski, after instant replay nullified another Gronkowski TD, added a 27- yard field goal to extend New England's lead.
Shonn Greene, who totaled 61 yards on 13 carries, had a pass go through his hands on the ensuing drive, and Ninkovich was there for the interception.
Shortly thereafter, Gronkowski's diving five-yard touchdown grab with Donald Strickland draped over his back made it 23-9 with 4:44 showing in the third.
"He's a great player," Brady said of his tight end. "We depend on him an awful lot. .... We needed him to come up big tonight."
Burress answered with a seven-yard grab in the right quarter of the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter, but a 13-play, 84-yard drive that took up nearly seven minutes sealed the outcome.
Deion Branch cemented the march with an eight-yard touchdown catch, and Ninkovich made it a rout by stepping in front of a pass intended for LaDainian Tomlinson and taking it back 12 yards for a score.
It was Gronkowski's fifth career two-TD game..Gostkowski connected on attempts of 50 and 36 yards in the first quarter...The Patriots host the Chiefs next Monday, while the Jets play at Denver on Thursday...New York's Nick Folk missed a 24-yard chip shot on the game's opening drive.
11/14 01:02:21 ET